Exciting Inshore Fishing Trips in the Intracoastal Waterway
Some big fish and challenging battles
Our inshore fishing trips take place in shallow waters on the Intracoastal Waterway and all its canals, bays, estuaries and inlets around Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton. You’ll never be far from the coast and, even in windy conditions, the inshore waters are fairly calm so there are no fears over sea sickness.
The Waterway runs all the way along America’s east coast, from New Jersey, round Florida and into Texas. Fort Lauderdale is known for its extensive network of canals with 165 miles of waterways in the city.
These waters are home to prized inshore fish such as tarpon, snook and spanish mackerel.
The natural and artificial components of the inshore waters help make it the ideal habitat for certain fish - mangrove trees, rocks, docks, pilings and bridges.
Many of the fish we target, especially tarpon and snook, prefer low light conditions so the best time to arrange a fishing trip is either early morning or early evening.
Our Andros 32’ charter boat seats up to 6 guests although 4 or less allows for a more personal experience.
Learn more about our fishing trips - departure place, durations and what you need to bring with you. Ready to book? Call 954-632-9340 or use our contact form.
Inshore fishing for tarpon
Tarpon, sometimes referred to as the silver king, are the most sought-after inshore fish - they show a huge variation in size, weighing anywhere between 20 and 200 pounds. Large tarpon can grow up to 7 foot long.
The main attraction of tarpon is the incredible display they put on to throw the hook. They jump (up to 8 feet out of the water), flip, thrash their heads and fight for their lives. It truly is an impressive sight. Their mouths are tough making the hook more challenging. The whole experience is an adrenaline rush which explains why anglers come back again and again for tarpon.
Tarpon prey on fish like mullet and pilchards as well as shrimp. These prey hide in concealed areas of the canals - trolling works well as does anchoring up and drifting a bait.
There are lots of structures in the waterways around Fort Lauderdale - bridges, pilings, docks - that act as hideouts for prey. These are excellent fishing spots. Bridges nearer the inlets usually hold bigger tarpon as currents are stronger with more prey flowing through.
Live bait tends to work best. Landing a tarpon with lures or flies is more difficult which by itself attracts many anglers to the challenge.
Tarpon can be caught year round although the larger tarpon are migratory and the main tarpon season in Fort Lauderdale runs from December to June each year. The fall mullet run, one of tarpon’s favorite prey, can also be a successful time.
Try and out-think a snook
Snook don’t put on the same acrobatic displays as tarpon, but you get a different kind of reward - knowing that you’ve outsmarted one of the most cunning fish. Snook are very intelligent and are masters of cutting the line with their sharp gill plates and getting you tangled up in mangrove roots.
Anglers often say you need as much luck as skill when it comes to catching snook.
Snook inhabit much the same areas as tarpon so, again, we look for any structures in the water. One tactic we use is to find a canal lined with mangrove trees on both sides. Shrimp and baitfish love the shelter mangrove roots provide and snook are often found hunting here. We also seek out spots with slightly warmer water temperatures.
Once we find a good spot, drifting with live shrimp is a go-to tactic we frequently deploy.
Snook are also delicious eating!
Spanish mackerel - an aggressive inshore fighter
Another good eating fish is spanish mackerel. Much smaller in comparison to its cousin the king mackerel, spanish mackerel are nevertheless fast and aggressive and a nice light tackle challenge.
They tend to max out at 12 pounds (with females slightly larger than the males) with the average size being around 4 pounds. Size is correlated to water depth with smaller fish in shallow waters and larger ones further out from the shore.
They feed in large schools which drives prey fish up near the water’s surface which, in turn, attracts the gulls who dive down to land a fish. We look out for this activity when looking to catch a spanish mackerel.
Bays and estuaries are good places to fish. Live bait and artificial lures both get the job done.
One aspect which requires caution is unhooking the fish. They have razor-sharp teeth than can cause a lot of damage to the hand and fingers. We use needle nose pliers for safe removal.
We also offer deep sea fishing for some big game fish including sailfish, dolphin, marlin and tuna. Learn more about our deep sea charter trips.